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Subject: The Sphinx Plows Through rss

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J
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So I managed to finish my second game of this on Tuesday so I figured I’d write it up.

The game belongs to a friend of mine and I had previously played standard 3 player with no special roles.

This time it would be Cut-throat 3 player with randomly selected roles (Godfathers removed).

In Initiative order Players were

Yellow - Game Owner; as THE DaVINCI (7 Move Straight line) using I.S.A.A.C (5 extra actions)

Green - Me; as THE SPHINX (Move 2 Ship and 1 Good, Sluggish Diamonds) using EVA BLANE (Can build new links)

Black - New Player; as THE SKY CASTLE (Move 6, Great Diamonds, Sluggish Capacity) using CLINT CASTLE (Sharp turns, flexible loading/unloading)

Yellow said the he picked I.S.A.A.C because he felt that the extra actions would be much better than the Transmogrify (1 cube - > 2 other cubes) ability

Green (me) was excited about drawing the Sphinx. I really wanted to try out using VICTOR BLANE after seeing so many people complain about how his ability was probably the worst. Unfortunately it occurred to me that since we were playing cut throat this meant that the board would be a whole lot smaller with a lot less links on it. Factoring the small board I determined that EVA BLANE would be able to build 3 new links with her ability and that would far outweigh the benefit I could get with VICTOR BLANE’s ability

Black was new but he got lucky. THE SKY CASTLE is very new player friendly and at out advice he picked CLINT CASTLE.

So anyway onto the game

Pre - Game

As a reminder we were playing cut throat so there was only 1 of each factory. Gears were right in the center of the board with Chemical close to the center but offset a little. Gold Paper and Food were each near a corner.

Black got a very nice placement right next to the Chemical and close to Food and Gears

Green placed near Gold and close to Gears

Yellow placed near Paper and Gears

Turn 1:


Tiles: Gold Food Gears

Right off the bat I realized a mistake. My placement was easily the furthest away from the majority of factories which I knew would hurt. With his better Initiative Yellow would definitely get the expensive Gear which left me pretty dry in terms of getting anything other than Gold.

For actions players mostly focused on building Depots. Due to the smaller Cut-Throat board we all wanted to grab as many cheap depots as we could.

Yellow did indeed grab the gear like I thought he would and shipped it. He also decided to use his extra actions early to let him grab extra Depots as well as upgrade his ship his reasoning being that using his actions early would pay off for him in the long run.

Black raced to get a chemical and a food but did not actually ship either. He too grabbed a bunch of depots but neglected to upgrade his ship, something I viewed as a mistake and I thought would come back to haunt him

I decided my best move would be to get the Gold, ship it using my special move and end near a factory in this case food. I too grabbed deports and made sure to upgrade my ship at least once.

Turn 2

Tiles: Chemical Chemical Food

I got lucky as food increased in price and I could grab 2 of them before anyone else. However I again realized that I would be unable to follow up with another cube. I decided to start my last move near some other factories and maybe a good opportunity would be there. I ended up getting very lucky and ended the round alone on the chemical plant guaranteeing that I’d be able to pick up 3 cubes. My actions were basically to ship, upgrade my ship to carry 3 cubes, and build a new 2 length link with a Depot to a chemical city.

Black sorta screwed up here. He ended up using a lot of actions to move extra. Later on he acknowledged that he should have upgraded his diamonds earlier.

Yellow took standard turns

Turn 3

Tiles: Gear Food Food

I got and shipped my chemicals and flew off to get a gold too. Unfortunately it was here when I realized a giant mistake I had made. I had built depots near the gold factory but none were 2 away. This meant I couldn’t use THE SPHINX’s special movement after picking up the gold to drop off the good and ship it immediately and would have to carry it to the next turn. I’ve made a special note about that for the future in case I’m ever THE SPHINX again.

It was around here that we all realized the true implications of a cut throat board and how much our roles were truly weakened.

Black (THE SKY CASTLE) was very badly hurt by the Cut Throat board. His characters specializes in large movement but due to the much smaller board his extra movement abilities weren’t as significant as they would be on a normal board. He was probaly hurt the most by the Cut Throat board

Yellow (THE DaVINCI) Didn’t have it quite as bad but his special of 7 Move Straight Line definitely took a plunge on the smaller board. His ability to take extra actions early turned out to be quite huge as it allowed him to grab a lot of extra depots.

Green (THE SPHINX) definitely was not hurt by the smaller board. However I was hurt by the presence of fewer factories. There were a few turns I had found myself unable to get a lone cube making my special moment not worth it. EVA BLANE however was a great choice. Depot competition was huge with all of them taken by turn 2. Further 3 of the cities had only 1 link to them but with EVA BLANE I would be able to create separate links to all 3 which if nothing else would net me 25 points.

Turn 4

Tiles: Chemical Chemical Gold

Due to our placement I was the closest player to the 2 Gear Cubes which I rushed to grab. Afterwards I was also the closest to 2 Paper cubes so I picked up 2 of those as well. Although I used my special move to ship the Gold cube from the previous turn I would only have enough actions to be able to ship either My Gears or Paper. Gears were twice as valuable as paper so the choice was easy.

I ended up getting supremely lucky. I had planned to end on Chemicals to grab those instantly on the next turn but I knew if Yellow had the same idea he would get them first. Both Yellow and Black ended on Gold leaving the Chemicals for me on the last turn.

Turn 5

Tiles: Paper Paper Gears

Holding onto the paper paid off as their price went up. I was able to Pick up all the Chemical cubes and a Food cube on top of that. I used 2 of my actions to ship the Paper and Chemicals. I used the 2 others To build a depot I needed to ship my cubes and a New Link. My food cube was shipped using my special move.

End game scores were pretty wide. We had all maxed our Ship but I was the only player who hadn’t maxed his Trains (I only got 5 points from trains). I had more depots than anyone else but not by much. The real game decider however was money.

They both had about 20 money. I had 61

The final scores were:

Black: 120ish

Yellow: 137

Green: 161

In retrospect we all realized that the characters were probably balanced with the original board in mind. Black had taken the worst hit since he was always behind Yellow and me in initiative and his extra movement wasn’t as useful.

Yellow’s initiative was better than mine but he let me have a lot of great opportunities including 3 Chemicals twice. I was very lucky in this sense cause his higher initiative was the only thing that could have stopped me.

We also noted that my special movement had been much more useful than theirs. The free shipping was huge as it was essentially a free action.

As for our Role Picks

Yellow acknowledged that he had underestimated AURELIA BAYLEY's transmogrify ability. He had found himself on more than one occasion with a cheap cube that he would have loved to turn into 2 expensive cubes although he also acknowledged that the extra actions had been great.

Green (I) was a little disappointed. EVA BLANE had indeed been terrific but VICTOR BLANE just was looking more and more pathetic. Eva had saved me 16 money (7*3-5 = 16, effectively spent 5 for 3 depots to cities that I would have needed to pay extra for the depot otherwise) not to mention she had the flexibility of not needing to rush to get them out. VICTOR BLANE would have saved me 7 coins assuming I built the same number of depots although he would have given me more early game cash. If I ever get THE SPHINX again on a bigger board I'd like to give him a try.

Black really had liked the Sky Castle (I think). CLINT CASTLE made picking moves much easier as he could put down high numbers or end at factories. The Cut Throat board combined which his poor initiative and not upgrading his ship early enough is what really did him in but he did like the game.





We ended up having mixed feelings on whether to play cut throat in the future or not.

Base Game had definitely felt too open where getting what we wanted while avoiding other players was very easy

In Cut Throat however we found that resources were just too limited and while there were races to get resources a few times for the most part the races were determined well in advanced and we found ourselves with less to do during the second half of our turns.
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Mathue Faulkner
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We played the cutthroat map tonight, and I was really disappointed. It's the worst experience of KoAaS to date. There just aren't enough factories on the map to be interesting. We had players literally just circling cities waiting for them to produce the next round....and it was pointless to increase our cargo holds since goods didn't build up at all.

The 5-tile map is too large, so I'll go with the 4-tile variant map. Same number of factories as the 5-tile map, but a little tighter space.
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Patrick R
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allstar64 wrote:
We also noted that my special movement had been much more useful than theirs. The free shipping was huge as it was essentially a free action.

Here's something I've been wondering... Did you interpret the Sphinx special movement card to mean "Move 2 and Ship 1 Cube" or "Move 2 and Take one Shipping Action"? The wording on the card makes it sound like it should be the former, but I never really thought this was all that powerful, since I'd usually have other goods sitting around needing to be shipped, which I would then need to use an action for anyway if I wanted to avoid paying upkeep. Since you would get to use it 5 times per game, it's still not as a much a "free action" as ISAAC's are, since he's more flexible about what he can do with his free actions (and when he can take them).
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Steve Walker
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I thought you could only use one of ISAAC's actions each turn ??? Dont have the rules with me to check but the ability to take many early seems very powerful.
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Patrick R
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stevepwalker wrote:
I thought you could only use one of ISAAC's actions each turn ???

Yes, it's once per turn. Are we maybe not using the same definition of "turn"? The rulebook states:

Quote:
The Move & Action phase is where most of the game happens. It is broken up into four cycles. In each cycle, each player will get their own turn.


So by the end of the first round, ISAAC will already have had 4 turns. The Sphinx however can only use its special movement card once per round (i.e., once per four turns). So that's what I meant about ISAAC seeming to be much more flexible (and powerful).
 
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J
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Mighty Pope wrote:
allstar64 wrote:
We also noted that my special movement had been much more useful than theirs. The free shipping was huge as it was essentially a free action.

Here's something I've been wondering... Did you interpret the Sphinx special movement card to mean "Move 2 and Ship 1 Cube" or "Move 2 and Take one Shipping Action"? The wording on the card makes it sound like it should be the former,


We interpreted it to mean a single cube since it uses the term "you may ship a single Good" rather than "you may ship a singe type of good".

Quote:
but I never really thought this was all that powerful, since I'd usually have other goods sitting around needing to be shipped, which I would then need to use an action for anyway if I wanted to avoid paying upkeep.


I'm a little confused what you mean here. If you have say 3 chemicals than yes you are right that the special move won't help you as you need to use an action to ship the other 2 cubes whereas you could have shipped all 3 anyway without the special move.

However if you have say 3 Chemicals and 1 other type of good (depending on what the factories produce it's reasonable to think you will end up with a lone good from time to time) than all other roles would need at least 2 actions to ship all their goods. 1 shipping action only lets you ship 1 type of good so in essence (as long as you play your cards right) the special move of THE SPHINX nets you 1 action any round you would have shipped just 1 good anyway. I'd say turn 1 this is very likely and reasonable to think will occur once or twice more during the game. Also if you get different 2 cubes during turn 1 you than you can hold onto one to use your ability next turn. I think 1 coin is a small price to pay for an extra action and it might not even be 1 coin if the value of the good increases.

I my case there were 3 instances where I shipped just 1 good so I netted 3 actions with it but again I was on a cut throat board.

Quote:
Since you would get to use it 5 times per game, it's still not as a much a "free action" as ISAAC's are, since he's more flexible about what he can do with his free actions (and when he can take them).


Well ISAAC's actions come from his role whereas THE SPHINX's "actions" come from their special move so it's understandable that ISAAC's would be better however, as I've mentioned before in a different thread, THE SPHINX is the only Ship with a special move that lets it both move and take an action which is something worthy to note.
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Mathue Faulkner
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I think some of the confusion lies in the fact that goods were in such short supply with the cutthroat map. With that particular map, singles goods are MUCH more likely to be shipped. In my other games, we usually ignored the single good pickups because there was often something else more worthwhile...
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Patrick R
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allstar64 wrote:
I'm a little confused what you mean here. If you have say 3 chemicals than yes you are right that the special move won't help you as you need to use an action to ship the other 2 cubes whereas you could have shipped all 3 anyway without the special move.

That's exactly what I meant. I've never played on the cutthroat map though and in the games I've played so far, I find I rarely have just 1 of any type of good sitting around. I generally avoid going to a factory unless it has at least 2 goods on it, which you can usually afford to do on a larger board.

Quote:
Quote:
Since you would get to use it 5 times per game, it's still not as a much a "free action" as ISAAC's are, since he's more flexible about what he can do with his free actions (and when he can take them).

Well ISAAC's actions come from his role whereas THE SPHINX's "actions" come from their special move so it's understandable that ISAAC's would be better however, as I've mentioned before in a different thread, THE SPHINX is the only Ship with a special move that lets it both move and take an action which is something worthy to note.

Very true.
 
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